Being a single woman has both its perks and its challenges. She can make the best decisions on behalf of herself and any family she may be raising. However, she is also solely responsible for all financial aspects of her day-to-day life and her future. Most financial advice is created for couples. But for anyone relying on her own income, she needs to stay focused and motivated on her financial health and future.

Create A Manageable Budget
Without shared expenses, you have total control over how and where you spend your money. This means you get to decide how much is saved, too. Are you new to budgeting? Check with your financial institution or look for a user-friendly app to help manage your everyday finances. These can help point out areas of wasteful spending. By cutting back on expenses you can use extra cash to pay off debt and save for the future. Revisit your budget once a year to spot any significant changes you should make. As you pay off debts, saving is likely to increase, or you may find opportunities to adjust your lifestyle.

Make Sure Debt Is Under Control
Ideally, you should live with little to no debt. If you find yourself relying on debt, especially for everyday purchases, you need to revisit your budget. Getting out of debt is not as difficult as you might think. It just takes focus and commitment. Two popular methods for eliminating debt are the “debt snowball” and the “debt avalanche.” Both methods are very similar, but use different approaches.

First, you gather all of your secured and unsecured credit accounts and list them according to payoff balance and interest rate. To snowball the debt, your focus account is the one with the smallest payoff balance. You begin by paying the minimum balance on all other accounts and the maximum you can afford on your focus account. When you’ve paid it off, the next account with the smallest balance becomes your focus account. The avalanche works similarly, except your focus is paying off high interest accounts first.

Maintain A Substantial Emergency Fund
Most financial planners recommend an emergency fund covering 3-6 months of expenses with a total loss of income. This typically assumes a dual income household with two adults actively looking for work to get back on their feet. As an independent woman, you rely on yourself. This also means if you suffer a major financial setback or total loss of income, it’s up to you to manage it. Instead of three to six months, you should focus on keeping an emergency fund of six to 12 months. You’ll find peace of mind as you take care of yourself in times of uncertainty, feeling less pressure. Rather than focusing on fixing a short-term problem, you can take your time to craft a long-term solution.

Save For A Comfortable Retirement
Enjoying retirement as a single woman can be a wonderful experience. You get to set your retirement goals and plan how to enjoy those years. But without making savings a priority none of it will be possible. Many financial planners recommend contributing 15% of your income to retirement. Check out your company’s retirement benefits. Many companies offer 401(k) investment options and even match contributions. Get informed on what they offer so you can contribute a minimum of what your company matches. (Ex: If your company matches 5% of your earnings, you should contribute 5%.)

After you have started contributing to a 401(k), look into IRA options. Many IRAs are invested in mutual funds to minimize risk and still give you a great return. Once you’ve found an option you feel comfortable with, contribute an amount above your 401(k) contribution to bring your total retirement investment to 15%. (Ex: If you are contributing 5% to your 401(k), invest 10% into the IRA.)

Cover Yourself With Disability Insurance
As a single woman, financial responsibility for your household falls on you. This means you have the independence to make your own financial decisions, but you also need to be smart in your planning. Do you have a plan if you suffer a major injury or illness? Even with a well-funded emergency fund, it doesn’t make sense to deplete it if you can have a portion of your income replaced because you are unable to work. This insurance may be available through your employer. Find out what benefits are available to you and make sure you have adequate coverage.

Financial planning can be successful for any woman if she is dedicated to herself. It’s important to surround yourself with other financially motivated people who want to see you achieve your goals. Regardless of whether or not you have children, you’ll also want to make sure you have an estate plan in place, as well. You’ll need to know who will make decisions on your behalf if, for any reason, you are unable to do so.

Lyle David Solomon is a licensed attorney in California. He has been affiliated with the law firms in California, Nevada and Arizona since 1991. As the principal attorney of Oak View Law Group, he gives advice and writes articles to help people solve their debt problems.